Aperture Sight Accuracy


December 11, 2012, 03:39 AM
I just recently acquired a Windham Weaponry carbine with A2 style sights on it. This is my first experience with aperture sights.

My question is, how close is too close to put my eye? If I extend the stock all the way out, I see a small target that almost fills the aperture. If I collapse the stock halfway and creep way up on it, the same target looks larger and also has more space around it. Also, the closer my eye is, the more my crappy dominant side eyesight is corrected. Am I losing precision by having my eye closer and having a wider field of view?

Also, when I creep up, my nose is literally touching the charging handle. Is there any danger from escaping gasses and whatnot with my face being so close? I wear safety glasses most of the time when I practice but not when I hunt. My face is my second favorite in the whole world, and I would rather not break it or burn it.

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Coal Dragger
December 11, 2012, 04:38 AM
You're just fine creeping up on it, theoretically you shorten your overall sight radius a smidge by getting closer but I always shot better scores with my eye close up on the aperture.

December 11, 2012, 06:56 AM
It's pretty standard on an AR15 to index the rifle with your nose touching the charging handle. Gives a consistent sight picture every time.

Go to the Army M16 Fundamental Marksmanship Guide I've linked below. Read paragraph 5 and look at where the guy's nose is on the Cheek-to-stock weld pictures.


Cheek-to-Stock Weld. The stock weld should provide a natural line of sight through the center of the rear sight aperture to the front sight post and on to the target. The firer's neck should be relaxed, allowing his cheek to fall naturally onto the stock. Through dry-fire training, the soldier practices this position until he assumes the same cheek-to-stock weld each time he assumes a given position, which provides consistency in aiming. Proper eye relief is obtained when a soldier establishes a good cheek-to-stock weld. A small change in eye relief normally occurs each time that the firer assumes a different firing position. The soldier should begin by trying to touch the charging handle with his nose when assuming a firing position. This will aid the soldier in maintaining the same cheek-to-stock weld hold each time the weapon is aimed. The soldier should be mindful of how the nose touches the charging handle and should be consistent when doing so. This should be critiqued and reinforced during dry-fire training.

Or Google FM-3-22-9 Marksmanship Manual and download it. From page 4-17:

December 11, 2012, 09:33 AM
A couple of points: Sight alignment is more important than sight picture.

"Stock Weld" is critical.

Moving your face up and down the stock moves the point of impact up and down. That is why stock weld is critical and most AR15 target shooters let the charging handle touch their nose to establish a repeatable face position.

As for gases, it is very common amoung target shooters to fill the gap between upper receiver and charging handle with permatex. Forms a gas seal.

Regardless, always wear your shooting glasses.

December 11, 2012, 10:14 AM
This old mans way.

Collapsing stocks are great, for storage, heavy coats, moving in close quarters. Not for getting the best accuracy. (Don't jump on me yet.)

The key to hitting your target is consistency. Consistent ammunition, weapon, hold, breath control and sighting. Moving the stock in and out all of the time is not consistent.

Extent the stock to where you like it. Close your eyes and bring the weapon to bare and hold it comfortably with no straining. This is your comfort zone and will be your best and most repeatable hold with that weapon in that configuration. Now open your eyes, not one but both. With out adjusting your hold, find your sight picture. I personnel believe that the adjustment/placement of the rear sight for optimal sight picture is better than juggling your head about. This is another reason that I like rail mounted rear sights that can be moved.

Find 'your' comfortable and stable shooting position. Practice it, that is 'your' cheek weld spot.

Now for aperture sights. Some don't like them, most do. The natural optics of the eye makes a focus point and with practice is very precise. Another great advantage is rapid target acquisition. Learn to keep both eyes open. That makes for less eye strain, better vision of the target. If you are like me, my left eye is my control eye, shooting right handed, I find I'm a little slower getting my first shot off, but not much.

December 11, 2012, 11:21 AM
Thanks for the tips guys, just what I was looking for. I agree that the collapsible stock isn't really ideal for long range stuff, but it makes the rifle more versatile. Eventually I want to get a designated long range rifle with a real stock, free float tube, and optics, but for now I just want to get comfortable from 0 to 300 yds with what I got.

December 11, 2012, 11:38 AM
I don't want to sound like I'm contradicting myself but...
A solid collapsible stock can be and are very consistent and some excellent accuracy can be obtained.
Most are for carbine length buffer tubes (not all) and that goes hand in hand with a carbine gas system, shorter barrel and a little less velocity. None of these are game breakers. Optics don't care what the barrel length is and faster powders push bullets all but the same out of short and longer barrels. Carbine gas systems are a touch more rambunctious.
The only true loss is for iron sight use, shorter sighting radius.

December 11, 2012, 01:07 PM
I didn't see it mentioned or I missed it--there are 2 aperture sizes, flip the small one up and it will usually work better with your eye up close.

December 11, 2012, 01:12 PM
Large aperture is for close range/low light. Small aperture is for everything else. Try to touch your nose to the charging handle. If you can't or it is uncomfortable, back off a bit, but nose to the handle is the best way to start. As other have mentioned, consistency is the key.

December 11, 2012, 01:21 PM
The key is consistency. Personally I don't see any advantage to kissing the charging handle. On the carbine I extend the stock all the way and get a good cheek weld back a bit. The sights still work. You also don't want to be so close that the aperture becomes enormous or touches your glasses. The idea is to get it to a place where you can reliably center the tip of the front post every time. Realistically you can do this with a Mojo that's a foot away from your eyeball. So a few inches more or less on a rear aperture won't make a huge difference.

I have noticed that they work much better on a full size AR rifle due to the longer sight radius and the far better stock configuration. Carbines are, after all, a compromise for the sake of portability.

Much also depends on what you're doing with the AR. The haunched forward, neck down, chest flat to the target, supporting arm way out, buttstock collapsed position is becoming the new normal for tactical stuff, but its utility for those of us not wearing body armor is questionable. And it is far from ideal for longer range target shooting. It's designed for rapid fire on multiple targets while running around getting shot at.

December 11, 2012, 02:36 PM
You also don't want to be so close that the aperture becomes enormous or touches your glasses. The idea is to get it to a place where you can reliably center the tip of the front post every time

Does having your eye closer to the aperture actually leave more room for error in centering the front post, or does it just allow you to see finer changes in its position?

Kind of like how a scope on 3x makes it look like you are holding much steadier than a scope on 9x.

December 11, 2012, 04:18 PM
Closer is better, but only if the hole is also smaller. So the most fine-tuned of aperture sights do go right up near your eye and have an eye cup to provide shade, but they also use very small apertures. Like a Soule sight. And I believe you're supposed to use the smallest aperture you can reliably center the front post with. With the AR even the smaller standard sight is pretty huge when you get that close to it, and I believe in order to make use of it you'd have to make the aperture very small. Some of the aftermarket service rifle match sights are pretty small.

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